“…the Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri String Quartet – they’re that good.” – The Chicago Tribune
The phenomenal Dover Quartet catapulted to international stardom following a stunning sweep of the 2013 Banff Competition, at which they won every prize. Named the Cleveland Quartet Award-winner, and honored with the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Dover has become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world. The Quartet’s rise from up-and-coming young ensemble to occupying a spot at the top of their field has been “practically meteoric” (Strings). With its burnished warmth, incisive rhythms, and natural phrasing, the Quartet’s distinctive sound has helped confirm its status as “the young American string quartet of the moment” (New Yorker). The Quartet serves as the quartet-in-residence for the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Chamber Music Northwest, Artosphere, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, and Peoples’ Symphony in New York, and was recently named the first-ever quartet-in-residence for the Kennedy Center.
In 2018-19 the Dover Quartet performs more than a hundred concerts around North America, including performances at the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Performances, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Spivey Hall, Boston’s Celebrity Series, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and Carnegie Hall. In addition, the Dover’s season features tours of Hong Kong, Europe, and Australia, collaborations with Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Peter Serkin, Anthony McGill, and Roomful of Teeth, and premieres of new works by Caroline Shaw and Matan Porat. The Quartet was thrilled to be invited by the maverick filmmaker and cultural icon David Lynch to be featured at his Los Angeles Festival of Disruption.
Cedille Records released the Quartet’s sophomore album, entitled Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 in October 2017. The recording takes listeners on a powerful journey through works written during World War II by Viktor Ullmann, Dimitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks. The 2016-17 season saw the release of its all-Mozart debut recording on the Cedille label, a nod to the 1965 debut album of the Guarneri Quartet, whose founding violist, the late Michael Tree, joined the Dover Quartet on the recording.
In addition, the group has participated in three complete Beethoven quartet cycles, including the University at Buffalo’s famous “Slee Cycle” – which has presented annual Beethoven quartet cycles since 1955 and has featured the likes of the Budapest, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets – and will record the cycle over the next three seasons. The group’s world-class collaborators have included pianists Anne-Marie McDermott, Emanuel Ax, Marc-André Hamelin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Peter Serkin, and Jon Kimura Parker; violists Roberto Díaz and Cynthia Phelps; bassist Edgar Meyer; and the Pacifica and Escher Quartets.
In the spring of 2016, the Dover Quartet was recognized with the Hunt Family Award, one of the inaugural Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, and in past years has taken top prizes at the Fischoff Competition and the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. All four Quartet members are consummate solo artists: first violinist Joel Link took first prize at the Menuhin Competition; violinist Bryan Lee and violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt have appeared as soloists with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic, respectively; and cellist Camden Shaw released a solo album debut on the Unipheye Music label. As Strad observes, “With their exceptional interpretative maturity, tonal refinement, and taut ensemble,” the Dover Quartet is “pulling away from their peers.”
Hailed as “the next Guarneri Quartet” (Chicago Tribune), the Dover Quartet draws from the lineage of that distinguished ensemble, as well that of the Cleveland and Vermeer Quartets; its members studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where they were mentored extensively by Shmuel Ashkenasi, James Dunham, Norman Fischer, Kenneth Goldsmith, Joseph Silverstein, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, and Peter Wiley. It was at Curtis that the Quartet first formed, and its name pays tribute toDover Beach by fellow Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber. The group has since returned for residencies to Rice in 2011-13, and to Curtis, where it became the conservatory’s first Quartet-in-Residence, in 2013-14. In addition, in 2015 the Dover was appointed the first Resident Ensemble of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in the 116-year history of New York City’s oldest concert series.
The Dover Quartet is dedicated to sharing its music with under-served communities and is actively involved with Music for Food, an initiative enabling musicians to raise resources and awareness in the fight against hunger.
The Dover Quartet plays on the following instruments:
Joel Link: Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, Paris circa 1857, on loan by Desirée Ruhstrat
Bryan Lee: Riccardo Antoniazzi, Milan 1904
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt: Michele Deconet, Venice, 1780, the ‘Kroyt,’ generously on loan from the grandson of Boris Kroyt of the Budapest Quartet
Camden Shaw: Frank Ravatin, France, 2010
From a young age, violinist Joel Link has met much success both as a soloist and chamber musician. As a top prize winner of numerous competitions including the Johansen International Competition in Washington D.C. and the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in England, Link’s playing has received accolades for being both highly refined and captivatingly passionate. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote of a concert, “After Joel played, the audience rose, one at a time, seemingly pulled out of their seats by the richness of his sound and the authority of his musical ideas.” As a result of his prize at the Menuhin Competition, Link was featured in The Strad magazine and has also appeared on numerous radio shows, including NPR’s “From the Top.”
A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, he studied with renowned violinists Joseph Silverstein and Pamela Frank, and served as the Curtis Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster for the 2009-2010 season. Joel’s love of chamber music has taken him to highly regarded music festivals across the globe, including the Ravinia and Marlboro music festivals, as well as Music from Angelfire. As a member of the Dover String Quartet, (formerly the Old City String Quartet) Joel has received the Grand Prize as well as the Gold Medal from the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and concertizes with the ensemble to great critical acclaim.
Bryan Lee has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Delaware, Lansdowne, and Temple University Symphony Orchestras, among others. Bryan was awarded the Bronze Medal at the 2005 Stulberg International String Competition and won second prize at the 2004 Kingsville International Young Performers Competition. He was featured on America's National Public Radio station on the show “From the Top”, and has attended Ravinia's Steans Institute for Young Artists, La Jolla Summerfest, Music from Angel Fire, Encore School for Strings, Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and the Perlman Music Program.
Serving as Associate Concertmaster of both Symphony in C and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and as a substitute for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bryan has performed under the batons of such renowned conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Rossen Milanov, Otto-Werner Mueller, Alan Gilbert, Christoph Eschenbach, and Sir Simon Rattle, and has collaborated in chamber music with Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Roberto Diaz, Anne-Marie McDermott, Carter Brey, and the Tokyo String Quartet. Bryan is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Pamela Frank and Victor Danchenko. His previous studies were with Choong-Jin Chang and Soovin Kim.
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt
Praised by Strad magazine as having "lyricism that stood out...a silky tone and beautiful, supple lines," violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt has established herself as one of the most sought-after violists of her generation. In addition to appearances as soloist with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, she has performed in recitals and chamber-music concerts throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe, including an acclaimed 2011 debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, which was described in Strad as being "fleet and energetic...powerful and focused".
Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt is the founding violist of the Dover Quartet, First Prize-winner and recipient of every special award at the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2013, and winner of the Gold Medal and Grand Prize in the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Her numerous awards also include First Prize of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and top prizes at the Tokyo International Viola Competition and the Sphinx Competition. Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt's summer festival appearances include Marlboro, Bowdoin, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Sarasota, Strings, Bravo! Vail, and La Jolla Summerfest, as well as Italy's Emilia Romagna Festival. Among the conductors with whom she has worked are Seiji Ozawa, Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Charles Dutoit, and Otto-Werner Mueller.
A violin student of Sergiu Schwartz and Melissa Pierson-Barrett for several years, she began studying viola with Michael Klotz at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in 2005. Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Roberto Diaz, Michael Tree, Misha Amory, and Joseph de Pasquale. She then received her Master's Degree in String Quartet with the Dover Quartet at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, as a student of James Dunham. Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt performs on a 2004 copy of the Primrose Amati, originally made for Roberto Diaz by Gabrielle Kundert and on a 1780 Michele Deconet generously on loan by the grandson of the viola’s former owner, Boris Kroyt of the Budapest String Quartet.
Cellist Camden Shaw has captivated audiences across the United States and Europe as an artist of unique and sincere vision. His playing has been described as “Wonderfully rich” (Kansas City Star), “dynamic and brave” (Stereo Times), and possesses a fluidity and flair that is truly unique. As cellist of the prizewinning Dover Quartet, he has appeared all over the world to great acclaim, being called a “phenomenal instrumentalist, who [seems] to have no technical difficulties.” (Rheinpfalz Ludwigshafen.)
Shaw has also collaborated in chamber music with such renowned artists as Daniel Hope, Leon Fleischer, and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and maintains an active career as a soloist: highlights from recent years include a performance of the Beethoven Triple concerto with the highly-acclaimed Artosphere Festival Orchestra, where Shaw also holds the principal chair, and the release of his solo album by the audiophile label Unipheye Music. The Album met with much critical praise, and a review in the STRAD magazine said of Shaw’s Kodaly sonata: “There is a raw earthiness to Shaw’s playing, an interplay of passion and plaintive lyricism, and a courageous contempt for [its] horrific demands that is utterly gripping.”
Shaw graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010, where he studied with Peter Wiley. Other major teachers include Norman Fischer, David Finckel, and Steven Isserlis. Shaw performs on an instrument made in 2010 by Sam Zygmuntowicz of Brooklyn, NY.